The theme for the International Medical Informatics Association’s (IMIA) 13th World Congress on Medical and Health Informatics, Medinfo 2010 is Partnerships for effective e-Health solutions. It is well recognised that information and communication technologies have enormous potential for improving the health and lives of individuals. Innovative and effective change using such technologies is reliant upon people working together in partnerships to create innovative and effective solutions to problems with particular regard to contextual and environmental factors.
Medinfo 2010 brings together the health informatics community from across the globe with a focus on how we can work together and share our experiences and knowledge to promote sustainable solutions to the challenges presenting to us all. This will be an historical event as Medinfo 2010 is hosted in Africa for the first time.
The Scientific Program Committee (SPC) was presented with a strong field of 905 submissions meeting the call of the congress challenge. This included 603 papers, 203 posters, 41 workshops/tutorials, 37 panels and 21 scientific demonstration applications. The final paper acceptance rate was 43%. All papers were assigned to two or three reviewers who scored each of the papers and provided feedback to authors. All submissions were categorised into one of four major themes (Hospital information systems, Consumer-health informatics, Knowledge management, National and International Health IT) and submissions within each of these theme areas were re-reviewed by assigned members of the SPC.
The final program covers all aspects of modern health informatics, ranging from traditional topics, such as hospital information systems, patient registries, nursing informatics, data integration, standards, interoperability issues and decision support, to new topics such as translational bioinformatics, text mining, intelligent data analysis, emerging technologies, quality, social networking, workflow and organizational issues. The papers have been selected with the guiding principle of including in the program both high quality methodological research and high impact applications of health informatics. In some cases, the authors achieved both goals.
A distinguishing feature of Medinfo 2010 program is the presence of several sessions on public health and national and international initiatives to promote health IT. The scientific challenges to implement large-scale initiatives are strongly related to the conference theme, as they rely on effective partnerships between all actors involved in health care informatics. The scientific rigor of the congress papers can be seen both as a consequence and reflection of IMIA’s strategic decision to see its role as a promoter of science and health IT throughout the world. Health Informatics researchers internationally are rising to the challenge of providing robust evidence of the transformational effects of effective health information exchange.
The Scientific Program Committee thanks all those who made submissions to Medinfo. Special thanks also go to the worldwide team who reviewed these submissions and provided feedback. For the first time the SPC organised a mentor scheme which provided the opportunity for researchers seeking to submit papers to Medinfo to have their work reviewed by an international expert prior to the Congress submission closing date. 42 papers were reviewed as part of this process. We thank the team of mentors who generously gave their time to support their colleagues as part of this scheme.
Riccardo Bellazzi, PhD, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
Johanna Westbrook, PhD, The University of Sydney, Lidcombe, New South Wales, Australia
Safran C, Reti SR, Marin HF, Editors. MEDINFO 2010. IOSPress; 2010.